zen habits : breathe

Minimalist Fun: The 100 Things Challenge


Photo by Zach Klein

Every Wednesday is Simplicity Day on Zen Habits.

Could you cut your personal possessions down to 100 things?

Last week, in my Haiku Productivity post, I mentioned blogger Dave Bruno’s 100 thing challenge. It’s actually a challenge that I’ve seen in years past on other forums, but Dave’s version is that he’s trying to cut his personal possessions down to 100 items.

Things not included:

I thought I’d give the challenge a try, as it’s an extension of Haiku Productivity — which has one rule: limit everything you do. If you limit your personal items, you are forced to choose. I don’t think this will be that difficult for me, as I don’t have a ton of personal items, but it is greatly appealing to the minimalist in me.

It’s supposed to be fun! Join me if you’d like. Let’s give ourselves a month (you can give yourself longer if you like), starting today (Sept. 19). Is the number 100 an arbitrary number? Of course it is! You could just as easily chosen 78, 94, 126, or the more magical 42. But it’s a nice round number, and the actual number isn’t as important as the exercise of trying to limit your possessions.

Why go through the challenge?
A few reasons:

  1. To help you declutter your home.
  2. To make you realize what’s necessary, and what you love, and what you don’t need.
  3. To free yourself of the burden of possessions.
  4. For fun.
  5. To force you to stick to the limit, even if you get new things.

If you have a minimalist streak in you, you might want to give it a try. If you’re really minimalist, you might even want to go below 100 — perhaps 50.

Some suggestions
This challenge might actually raise a lot of questions, such as whether you count this item or that, or whether you count a bunch of things as one item or not, or whether this item is considered “personal” or not. My answer: decide for yourself. This isn’t a competition, and it’s not a way to show off. It’s just for fun, and it’ll be different for each of us.

That said, here are a few suggestions:

My inventory
Here’s what I’ve inventoried that I want to keep so far:

  1. Keys
  2. ID & debit card clipped together
  3. wedding ring
  4. Moleskine notebook
  5. unopened Moleskine notebook (for when the first one’s finished)
  6. bike
  7. helmet
  8. running shoes
  9. sandals
  10. flip flops
  11. Doc Martens
  12. jeans
  13. jeans
  14. jeans
  15. slacks
  16. slacks
  17. slacks
  18. long-sleeve shirt
  19. long-sleeve shirt
  20. long-sleeve shirt
  21. shirt
  22. shirt
  23. shirt
  24. shirt
  25. shirt
  26. shirt
  27. shirt
  28. shirt
  29. shirt
  30. shirt
  31. shirt
  32. shirt
  33. shirt
  34. t-shirt
  35. t-shirt
  36. t-shirt
  37. t-shirt
  38. t-shirt
  39. belt
  40. razor
  41. shaving cream
  42. toothbrush

Stuff I’m getting rid of includes:




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